Japan rejects bid from China to use "AINU" trademark for products

Kyodo -- Mar 23
The Japan Patent Office rejected a trademark application by an individual in Shenzhen, southern China, for using the name of Japan's indigenous Ainu people, documents showed Tuesday.

The application for "AINU" was filed in March 2020 for products such as smartphone cases and computer mice, according to the documents disclosed by the office.

The move was criticized by the Ainu people, who are indigenous to Hokkaido, northern Japan, as an attempt to commercialize their culture.

The office rejected the application on the grounds that the Romanized name would "easily" be confused with that of the indigenous people.

"An exclusive use of the trademark is against the benefits of our country's society and the public, and may harm public order and moral standards," it said.

- Kyodo